Independent Examiner Issues Final Report of Their Review of the GNSO

ICANN logoWestlake Governance Limited (“Westlake Governance”), the independent examiner for the review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (“GNSO“) has issued its final report. This marks an important milestone in ICANN‘s commitment to continuous improvement, accountability and transparency. After extensive consultation with the GNSO and the broader ICANN community, including a formal public comment process and ongoing engagement and participation of the GNSO Review Working Party, Westlake Governance formulated their conclusions.

Westlake determined that the GNSO has made good progress in implementing a Working Group model as the foundation for consensus work, in restructuring the GNSO Council and in improving communications and coordination with the ICANN Board and other structures, among other improvements. Recognizing that organizational effectiveness is a process of continuous improvement, Westlake offers 36 recommendations in the areas of: participation & representation, continuous development, transparency and alignment with ICANN’s future.

In preparation for the eventual implementation of Board-approved recommendations, the GNSO Review Working Party will provide their input on feasibility, focusing on prioritization of recommendations and alignment of implementation with other improvements already planned or underway. The ICANN Board is expected to take action on the findings and recommendations in the early part of 2016, after consideration of all community input.

Final Report of Review of the GNSO is available here; it can be accessed from the recently updated GNSO Review web page.

What is the significance of the GNSO Review?

The GNSO serves an important function – it is responsible for developing and recommending to the ICANN Board substantive policies relating to generic top-level domains.

Based on direction from the Board, the purpose of the Review was to evaluate organizational effectiveness of the GNSO in accordance with the ICANN-provided objective and quantifiable criteria; acknowledge areas that are working well, identify areas that need improvement and propose needed changes. This review, like reviews of other structures within ICANN, is mandated by ICANN‘s Bylaws. The Organizational Effectiveness Committee of the Board (previously the Structural Improvements Committee) is responsible for review and oversight of policies relating to ICANN’s ongoing organizational review process.

“This Review is significant for a number of reasons. The process piloted several improvements, offering important lessons that will be incorporated into upcoming Reviews. The Final Report comes at a time of pivotal change and transformation at ICANN. The Community’s views along with the examiner’s insights will inform and contribute to enhanced organizational effectiveness of ICANN structures and ICANN as a whole,” commented Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Chair of the Organizational Effectiveness Committee.

How is the GNSO Community involved?

During the course of the last 14 months, Westlake Governance conducted research, analyzed data and evaluated effectiveness of prior review recommendations working closely with the GNSO Review Working Party. The 20-member GNSO Review Working Party representing the diversity of the GNSO Community was designated by the GNSO Council as a liaison between the GNSO, the Independent Examiner and the ICANN Board. Under the leadership of Jen Wolfe, this group has represented the voice of the GNSO community throughout the Review, in an effort that introduced several important Review process improvements.

What does “continuous improvement” mean?

With Reviews as a tool to inspire a culture of continuous improvement, the GNSO Review Working Party will have a pivotal role in helping prioritize recommendations and ensuring a shared understanding of what an “effective” or “successful” implementation would look like. The independent review process fostered diverse views on how GNSO should be structured for the future and these discussions are expected to provide useful input into GNSO’s implementation work. Whether structural changes are needed and when such changes should be considered will be topics for discussion after the conclusion of the Review process, possibly during the implementation planning.

GNSO Review by the Numbers

For additional information, please visit:


This ICANN announcement was sourced from: